Apr 14, 2011

Alien Vs. Ninja Review

image from Amazon

Premise:
Name pretty much says it all. Apparently you can get it in Japanese with English subtitles, but on Netflix Instant Watch I watched it with horrendous English voiceovers. If you need to see anymore to understand the plot, here's the trailer




Standouts:
This movie had some fun action in it, but other than that really suffered from every other standpoint. I know action movies are really different in Japan, and so are comedies, but I don't think this would be classified as good in either category in Japan. At times when it was trying to be funny it was really falling flat, and other times it was funny because it was so bad. Not every production company can afford big-time Hollywood graphics and CGI, but in tons of scenes the CGI was SyFy channel bad, and the guys in rubber suits couldn't help but come off human. But what really stood out is that I don't think the creator of this film really had any idea what he wanted from his alien species. It was just one special trait after another to make his monsters seem invincible. Many of the special traits were either blatant ripoffs of American alien films or at least an homage to them, but that didn't bother me. What bothered me was the insignificance of the traits because the aliens would use one and then never go back to it. In most of the fighting scenes, just keeping the aliens as brutish, hard-to-kill, thick-shelled sons-of-a-gun would have worked just fine.

***SPOILER***

There was really no need to drag zombies and swordplay into the aliens' arsenal.


My Highlights:
I can't lie, most of the highlights are in the trailer. The blatant perversion of the fight scenes involving the woman-ninja is one of the so-bad-it's-good highlights of this film. Also the pokemon-like evolution of the final alien, not because it was a really great scene, but because I don't think I'll be able to get rid of that last impression of the movie for as long as I live.


Overall Rating:
While I have no proof, I think it's no coincidence this film came out SO close to the time another, better-made, American film of a similar topic. Basically, I liked this film better when it was produced by Robert Rodriguez and called Predators.


When You Should See It:
Unless you're a big Japanophile and need to see all of their cult-classics of the modern day, just skip this one. I can't imagine anyone but the diehard fans of that genre watching this film from start to finish.

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